Background Briefing: July 5, 2020


The History Of The U.S. and Russia Rigging Votes

We begin with the history of vote rigging particularly during the Cold War when the CIA routinely rigged elections to deny leftists parliamentary majorities in Western Europe while the Soviet Union, unfamiliar with elections since they did not exist at home, was equally vigorous in influencing the vote as they did in West Germany ensuring that in 1972 Willy Brandt was elected with help from the East German Stasi. David Shimer, an associate fellow of Davenport College at Yale University who is currently pursuing a doctorate in international relations at the University of Oxford as a Marshall Scholar, joins us to discuss his new book, just out, Rigged: America, Russia, and One Hundred Years of Covert Electoral Interference. Having interviewed all the top officials involved in investigating Russia’s role in helping elect Trump in 2016, David’s book reveals why Obama did not sound the alarm when intelligence reports confirmed Russia’s covert activities to hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign as well as former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s belief that Russian hackers actually altered the votes in key swing states in favor of Trump in 2016.


 Trump Could Take Advantage of Multiple Crises If We Take His Bait

Then on this 4th of July holiday we are joined by Roger Morris, who served in the United States Foreign Service and on the Senior Staff of the National Security Council under both Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, until resigning with Anthony Lake over the invasion of Cambodia. He is the author of the forthcoming books Between The Graves: America, Afghanistan and the Politics of Intervention which is based on thousands of previously secret documents and a comparative history of the inner politics of the U.S. and the USSR, Kindred Rivals: America, Russia and their Failed Ideals. He joins us to assess the multiple crises we are facing with the worst leader in our history not just making bad decisions, but taking actions that dramatically worsen the pandemic as his incompetence and indecision shatters the very economy he was hoping to run on in November. With deaths mounting to unprecedented levels and economic despair spreading as unemployment climbs and Republican’s cut benefits, the conditions for social chaos are ripe for Trump to spark civil war. But having been on the inside of Nixon’s “law and order” mobilization of hard-hats to beat up on anti-war demonstrators, Roger Morris warns us to avoid taking Trump’s bait, arguing Democrats must offer a narrative now that exposes Trump’s mendacity while mobilizing the majority to take to the streets in peaceful protests even though Trump’s armed thugs might try to provoke violence.